starting an online store

As some of you may already know, this was the year that I decided to finally take the plunge and start my own online business. Teaming up with one of my close friends, we put together our ideas and launched ‘Papo and Razzi’ – an online womens’ clothing store. From an outsiders’ perspective, what we’ve accomplished might look great. From a behind the scenes perspective, there’s always so much more to be done, a never-ending cycle of what’s next. Although I love what I do and I am determined to make this a success, I wanted to share some of the difficulties that we’ve faced while getting it all started. If you are thinking of starting your own online business, it isn’t always easy, but it’s more than worth it for your own happiness.

Thinking of what business you would like to start
Having an idea that you want to stick with can be difficult. We went through a variety of ideas before settling on an online womens’ clothing store. It has to be something that you can see yourself sticking with for the long term; you don’t want to decide something, invest time and money in the idea and then change your mind 6 months down the line.

Deciding on a name
This my friends took us a lot less time than expected, only because that we were inspired by someone close to us. If it weren’t for their help, it would have taken us months. Without the name we were stuck in limbo; we couldn’t brand our business without a name, and we didn’t want to move forward unless this was done.

Choosing a target audience
Our branding worked hand in hand with deciding on our target audience. We wanted to look professional, but friendly. We wanted to be relatable, but also seem well established. The business idea had to match the audience we wanted to attract, and although it may seem easy to just decide this, we later found out that it was hard to stick to it.

Deciding on a product
It’s all well and good choosing a product and saying ‘Oh I like this, therefore someone else out there will like this.’ But until you launch and see the sales coming in, it’s hard to know for sure. You need to conduct research, trial and test things, and also just have patience. Sometimes your product might be great but you just haven’t reached the right audience yet. Don’t give up.

Choosing a website base
How and where you set up your online store can be difficult to decide. There are several options out there for beginners, the most popular being Shopify, Weebly and Wix. Although some of them are free and come with hundreds of website templates, they don’t include other important aspects that help to build a successful business. We decided to go with Shopify ourselves, and so far it has been more than worth the money.

Setting up social media
When choosing a name it’s important to check that the website address and any social media accounts you may want are not already taken. We saved our name on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest before committing. Once that was done we had to create our brand descriptions across all accounts, change our backgrounds and profile photos, and link all of them to our website.

Creating a business plan
By setting yourself goals you will be able to track the progress of your store. Before we even started we already had so many ideas of where we wanted to go with our business; and we’re so excited to see those things happen in the future. I’m talking future lines, ads, offers, you name it.

Most importantly – Not giving up
Once you have achieved all of the above, you’re more or less ready to launch. The launch will see the start of your sales, a rise in followers/likes, and several compliments from friends and family. But when this has died down and the initial excitement has worn off, that’s when it gets difficult. Don’t let those negative thoughts seep in; you do have what it takes, it’s just going to take time. Patience is the key for long term success, and if you want something badly enough then you won’t give up.

So there you have it; the difficulties of starting an online store. Have any of you been through the same troubles, or came across any other problems on the road to set up? Drop a comment below and we’ll chat!

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